CBH partner and lead designer, Mike Cuttitta, was recently appointed as a board member of Branchburg, NJ's Board of Adjustment. We asked him all about his new role:
When did you move to Branchburg and why? I moved to Branchburg in April 2014. My partner and I were looking at houses in the wide proximity of routes 287, 78, and 24. We fell in love with a house here in Branchburg right on a river. The almost rural setting within easy access to commerce sealed the deal.
What are your favorite things about the town; what would you like to see improved? I love the history of the town; there are many places and stories that go back to before the American Revolution. There's also a lot of geographical and economic diversity, which I think makes it an interesting place...you have convenience at your fingertips with the many stores and businesses in the area, but you can also drive past scenic farmsteads or going fishing or kayaking within five minutes of the highways. I enjoy the best of both worlds here. The one thing I've noticed that can be improved, especially through my following of the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC), is the historic North Branch district within Branchburg. It sits close to the river and some of the old houses have been plagued by flooding for decades. Thankfully, many have been raised up, but a great amount are still prone to damage, if not already empty. I've been getting involved to see how we can revitalize this charming and significant piece of our town and it's history.
How do you get involved with the Board of Adjustment? It's a funny story. I sent in an application originally to join the HPC, since history is a great interest of mine, but the spot was filled by another. The BoA had a vacancy, and this seat was offered to me because of my work experience in architecture.
Why did you decide to join it? I realized it was a good opportunity to serve and learn more about my community. It wasn't the one I was expecting, but I've learned over the years that if you're given a chance, you should take it. I haven't been disappointed.
What has been some things you have learned about the BoA? The Zoning Ordinance? The Town? I've learned that it definitely requires dedication. There's a lot of information that passes in front of the board members, and it's up to us to always consider what's best for Branchburg, despite what our personal opinions might be.
What advise would you give homeowners or applicants or zoning variances that aren't already known or published online or in the application packet? I think it's simple, really. Try your best to fit your project within the regulations. Good faith on the part of the applicant will be met with good faith from the Board.
How would you best like to leave your mark on the BoA and on the town? I'm happy with just being a part of the process in maintaining and improving our town. If I were to influence anything, I hope that it would be in preserving the character of Branchburg as we continue to grow as a community.